Traditional German Tool Cabinet #1: German Tool Cabinet Tool holders

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Blog entry by Waldschrat posted 02-18-2010 09:29 PM 12383 reads 4 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Ok you asked for it, here it comes!

Tool holders are made so, here are a couple of closeups, I already have had these made, but I have not built them in… So this blog entry is an augmention of the plan, so you can see in wood how it should look.

They are nothing more than some hardwood, in this case Ash, strips glued together. When selecting wood for tool cabinets or anykind of cabinet where steel or iron will be in direct contact with wood, the Cabinetmaker must always think so that he uses a wood that does not react with the steel. Woods like Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Chestnut, are poor choices, because they hold a large amount of Tannic Acid, which will turn black when exposed to Iron, or other ferres metals. Not only can the wood start to stain, even worse, your tools can start to be corroded. And the Cabinets job is to protect the tools not to harm them. So Maple, Ash, Beech to name a few hard woods are probably best suited. I had some Ash on hand, and just that.

The strips are around 40mm wide, 25 cm or so long and are just glued with simple old fashioned white glue (PVAC glue)

The holes are then drilled with a Forstner bit, and the slots are cut, using a table saw (using a mitre gauge), or hand saw, depending on what you are more comfortable with. With jobs like this its a good chance to break out the hand saws and do a bit of practice sawing, where no one is going to really notice excecpt yourself.

When laying out the holes and cutting the slots for the chisels, files, or screwdrivers, its best to always double check the width of your grips… ”all chisels are equal but some chisels are more equal than others!”

Now the tricky part, depending on what kind of doors you want to build in, you have to think about how you would like to attach the tool holders. Keeping in mind too that the holders must leave enough clearance for the grips so they do not get in the way of closing the door.

With this plan, or the one I have drawn out, I would use wood dowels… its fast and secure. There is one thing to think about…. and thats wood movement. You all probably already know that wood moves across the grain and perpendicular to the grain, and the door is built to account for that. The tool holder on the other hand is glued lengthwise across the grain. one should not have a non moving surface (grain lengthwise) glued to wood grain when it needs to move. The accecptable limit for this is 80 mm or so.

What I am trying to say with this is that the dowels should not be more than 80 mm apart, otherwise the wood can crack or warp.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

2 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4453 days

#1 posted 02-18-2010 11:00 PM

thank´s for the advice


View Pete Pedisich's profile

Pete Pedisich

140 posts in 3985 days

#2 posted 02-26-2011 06:15 AM

Nicholas, I’m new here and I love this tool cabinet of yours. It looks very traditional and I love the classic look of the northern wood. Brilliant layout and execution.
I’m not sure of this translation but…
Viel Dank für das Teilen der Fotographien Ihrer Arbeit. Sie hat mich angespornt.

-Peter Pedisich

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